Research Project NeuroCare
A new project funded by the European Commission (EU) links researchers from electrical engineering, bioelectronics, biophysics, and medicine to study the two-way communication between implanted electrode arrays and retinal nerve cells. The project is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme in the area of Nanotechnology based implantable and interfaceable devices.
Project title: NeuroCare - Neuronal NanoCarbon Interfacing Structures
Abstract: NeuroCare aims to create better retinal, cortical and cochlear implantable devices through the use of improved interfacing between the electronic implants and living cells. The NeuroCare concept involves low-cost, carbon-based materials, well-adapted for medical implants, because they:
(i) Offer wide range of electronic properties (metal, semiconductor and insulator).
(ii) Are bio-inert.
(iii) Are physically robust.
Coupling between electronic devices and neurons was recently studied using soft, nanocrystalline diamond-based micro-electrode arrays, evaluated in laboratory animals for retinal stimulation. These diamond implants considerably reduced gliosis, enabled stimulation currents to be raised by more than one order of magnitude before causing visible chemical alteration, and enabled long lasting operation with reduced bio-fouling. Our previous experience with nanocrystalline diamond will be directly built upon through the introduction of atomic layers of graphene to diamond surfaces. NeuroCare will specifically focus on: Carbon-bio-interface development offering reduced bio-fouling over the state-of-the-art, as set by the DREAMS project and improved biocompatibility Interfacing of rigid MEAs and FETs with cells and organs to improve bidirectional communication with neurons for in vitro research and pharmacological applications Nano-scale surface engineering and flexible macro-scale implant materials for optimal contact to biological tissue Making and testing implantable MEAs and FETs for complex multichannel neuronal communication - targeting the specificity in vivo of the implantable devices for 3 high-impact clinical applications Neurocare partners will test interfaceable and implantable devices via in vitro and in vivo testing (http://www.fz-juelich.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/UK/EN/2012/12-03-01NeuroCare.html).
Principal Investigator(s): Offenhäusser, Andreas
Partner: NeuroCare federates 12 partners: CEA (LIST and CLINATEC), Ecole Superieure d'Ingenieurs en Electronique, Forschungszentrum Julich, QWANE Biosciences SA, University College London (London Centre for Nanotechnology), Johannes-Gutenberg-University (Mainz), Walter-Schottky-Institute (München), Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris), OBELIA SARL, NANO RETINA Ltd., Kurt Salmon Luxembourg S.A.
Webpage: (under construction)
Project start: 01.03.2012
Probable end: 28.02.2015